Archive for the ‘Stage musicals’ Category

Motown musical moves Hitsville to Broadway

February 3, 2013

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A new stage musical telling the story of the legendary Motown label is to open on Broadway in April 2013. Titled Motown: The Musical, it will feature Brandon Victor Dixon who plays the label’s founder Berry Gordy Jnr, and Valisia LeKae taking the part of Diana Ross.

Gordy himself is one of the producers of the show, so it is expected to include plenty of classic Motown songs from its heyday in the 1960s, 1970s and early 1980s.

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Cat Stevens musical ‘Moonshadow’ receives world premiere

June 7, 2012

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The first musical to be based on the songs of Cat Stevens has received its world premiere in Melbourne, Australia.

  Titled Moonshadow, the musical is described as “an odyssey of love, music and light”. It includes several new songs written by Yusuf Islam, as well as classic songs such as ‘Father and Son’, ‘Wild World’, ‘Morning Has Broken’, ‘Matthew & Son’ and ‘The First Cut is the Deepest’.

Watch an interview with Yusuf Islam about the musical…

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New West End show to mark The Beatles’ 50th anniversary

April 16, 2012

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The 50th anniversary of the release of The Beatles’ first hit ‘Love Me Do’ in October 1962 is to be marked with a new West End show celebrating their career.

Titled Let It Be, the new production will tell the story of The Beatles’ rise to fame using historical video footage and live cast performances of more than 20 of the Fab Four’s greatest hits.

READ THE FULL STORY …

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The Temptations to turn their Motown story into a Broadway musical

August 26, 2011

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The Temptations are planning to turn their Motown success story into a Broadway musical based on the acclaimed 1998 TV mini-series about the legendary group.

   Otis Williams, 69 – the only surviving member of the original group – is said to be working with Broadway producer Ira Pittleman on a stage spectacular featuring all of the group’s classic hits.

READ THE FULL STORY …

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The Temptations to turn their story into a Broadway musical

July 2, 2011

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The Temptations are reportedly planning to turn their Motown success story into a Broadway musical.

It will be based on the acclaimed 1998 TV mini-series about the legendary soul group.

READ FULL STORY…

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Dionne Warwick and The Shirelles sue Broadway show.

June 5, 2011

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The producers of Baby It’s You– a new Broadway musical about the 1960s girl group The Shirelles – are being sued by Dionne Warwick, R&B singer Chuck Jackson, and Beverly Lee, the only surviving member of The Shirelles and owner of the trademark to the group’s name.

   The estates of late Shirelles Doris Coley Jackson and Addie Harris McFadden are also involved in the lawsuit which has been filed in New York.

   Baby It’s You! is the story of Florence Greenberg, a suburban housewife from New Jersey who discovered the all-girl group and created Scepter Records in 1959.

   Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson were both later signed to the label and are also portrayed in the show.

The lawsuit charges the producers with “cashing in” on the names, likenesses and biographical information of The Shirelles, Dionne Warwick and Chuck Jackson, without permission.

   The Shirelles had hits in the 1960s with ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’ (1960), ‘Dedicated to the One I Love’ (1960), ‘Soldier Boy’ (1961), ‘Foolish Little Girl’ (1962), and the new musical’s title song ‘Baby It’s You’ (1961). The group were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

   Attorney Oren Warshavsky, who is representing the singers, commented that, like many other recording artists in the 1960s, his clients were not treated well even as they were growing in popularity.

   “It’s unfortunate that they have to live through it again and watch their stories be told without their consent,” said Warshavsky. “These national treasures were taken advantage of at the infancy of their careers. Now they have to watch it done to them again on stage and once more not get paid.”

   Meanwhile, anyone going to see the musical Baby It’s You won’t be hearing The Shirelles’ biggest hit, ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow’. Carole King, who wrote the song, refused to give the producers permission to use it because she is reportedly planning to stage her own jukebox musical.

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Paul McCartney to compose his first ballet

April 28, 2011

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Sir Paul McCartney, 68, is taking his love of composing classical music to a new level by writing his first original orchestral score for a ballet.

   The former Beatle is composing the music for the New York City Ballet (NYCB) company’s production of Ocean’s Kingdom – a new romantic ballet which will have its world premiere in New York on September 22.

   Ocean’s Kingdom is said to be a Romeo and Juliet-style love story about a forbidden love affair between the daughter of the king of the “pure” ocean kingdom and the brother of the king of the “baddie” earth kingdom. The four-act ballet will feature some 50 minutes of music and will involve more than 40 dancers.

   “I am always interested in new directions that I haven’t worked in before, so I became very excited about the idea,” Sir Paul told The New York Times. He said he was astounded by the athleticism of the ballet dancers. “It’s like a meeting of the Olympic games and art. I find that fascinating and challenging for me, to see what can be done.”

   Sir Paul’s involvement in the project began last year when he met NYCB’s ballet master-in-chief Peter Martins at a charity event. “Like the rest of my generation, I grew up being a huge fan of The Beatles so I was thrilled to meet him,” said Martins, who will create the choreography for Ocean’s Kingdom.

  “After I got to know him a bit, and knowing of his great love of composing classical music,” said Martins, “I asked if he might be interested in doing something for New York City Ballet. I am ecstatic that he has agreed to write a score for us.”

   After writing some of the greatest pop songs of the last 50 years, Sir Paul McCartney first dipped his toes into classical music in 1991, when he wrote the Liverpool Oratorio with Carl Davis for the Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra’s 150th anniversary. His other classical works include Standing Stone, Working Classical and Ecce Cor Meum.

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Brian Wilson sings Gershwin

July 22, 2010

In an unprecedented meeting of two legendary songwriters, Brian Wilson has recorded a 12-track album of classic songs by George Gershwin, titled Brian Wilson Reimagines Gershwin.

But it’s no ordinary collection of cover versions. Two of the tracks are rare, unfinished Gershwin songs from the 1920s which the Gershwin Estate allowed Brian Wilson to complete.

The ‘new’ songs – ‘The Like in I Love You’ and ‘Nothing But Love’ – have made history by effectively becoming unique Gershwin-Wilson collaborations … separated by 70 years!

The songs are featured on the album alongside Wilson’s Beach Boys-style vocal arrangements of standards like ‘Summertime’, ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’, ‘I’ve Got Rhythm’ and ‘They Can’t Take That Away from Me’. Also included is an outstanding a capella version of Gershwin’s 1924 orchestral piece ‘Rhapsody in Blue’.

The genius behind Pet Sounds says the new album is the “most spiritual” project he has ever worked on. “Along with Irving Berlin, Gershwin basically invented the popular song,” said Wilson. “But he did something more. He had a gift for melody that nobody has ever equalled, yet his music is timeless and always accessible.”

Last year, the Gershwin estate gave Wilson access to more than 100 unfinished or obscure songs and unpublished melodies left by George Gershwin when he died in 1937. Wilson narrowed these fragments down to two favourites, then created new songs blending the Wilson and Gershwin styles.

‘The Like in I Love You’ is drawn from ‘Will You Remember Me?’, a song Gershwin composed in 1924 for the musical Lady, Be Good! which never made it into the show. ‘Nothing But Love’ is based on ‘Say My Say’, a 1929 song fragment which the Gershwin brothers never fully completed.

“In every generation, music has been pushed forward by visionaries, from the Gershwin brothers to Brian Wilson,” said George Gershwin’s great-nephew Todd Gershwin. “This latest interpretation is a new opportunity to discover the magic of Gershwin music.”

Track Listing:

01 Rhapsody in Blue /Intro
02 The Like in I Love You
03 Summertime
04 I Loves You Porgy
05 I Got Plenty of Nothin’
06 It Ain’t Necessarily So
07 ‘S Wonderful
08 They Can’t Take That Away from Me
09 Our Love Is Here to Stay
10 I’ve Got a Crush on You
11 I’ve Got Rhythm
12 Someone to Watch Over Me
13 Nothing But Love
14 Rhapsody in Blue/Reprise

Dolly Parton to write film and musical about her life as ‘Backwoods Barbie’

October 1, 2008

 

Country music legend Dolly Parton has confirmed that she is writing a film and a musical about her amazing life – and she plans to play herself in the movie version.

 

The singer and actress – whose latest studio album is titled Backwoods Barbie – is currently receiving rave reviews in the United States for writing the Broadway-bound stage version of her 1980 hit movie 9 To 5.

 

She now wants to follow up that project by turning her colourful life story into a stage and screen extravaganza.

 

In the stage version, three actresses are likely to portray her at different points in her life. But she says she would play the current Dolly if the musical is picked up as a movie.

 

“I’m writing my own life story as a musical. I won’t even probably be in it, but, if I do it as a movie, I would play the later part,” said Dolly, who will be 63 in January 2009. “It would be done with three Dollys I think.”

 

She revealed that she had already been contemplating turning her life story into a musical when she was approached by producer Robert Greenblatt with the idea of basing a musical on 9 to 5, the screwball comedy in which she made her acting debut.

‘Mamma Mia!’ becomes 16th longest running show in Broadway history

September 7, 2008

 

The international hit musical Mamma Mia! became the sixteenth longest running show in Broadway history when it played its 2,845th performance in New York on September 5, 2008.

 

As the production’s film adaptation continues to wow film fans around the world, the stage version overtook the record-breaking run of Jerry Herman’s Hello, Dolly to claim the 16th spot on the New York theatre hit list.

 

The production opened at the Winter Garden Theatre almost seven years ago.

 

There are currently nine productions of Mamma Mia! running around the world and the musical has already been seen by an estimated 32 million people worldwide.

 

Mamma Mia! cleverly uses the hit songs of ABBA to tell the story of Sophie Sheridan, a young girl who hopes to discover the identity of her father. On the eve of her wedding, she brings three men from her mother Donna’s past back to the Greek island they visited over two decades ago.

 

The show features music and lyrics by ABBA’s Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, a book by Catherine Johnson, direction by Phyllida Lloyd and choreography by Anthony Van Laast.

 

Mamma Mia! and the music of ABBA recently scored a ‘triple whammy’ when the film soundtrack, the original cast recording, and the ABBA Gold compilation all topped the charts in their respective categories.


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